With its inset grilles and plain, rectangular design, the Yamaha NX-B02 looks like an intercom that your local junkie ripped from your apartment lobby, and put on red-tag special down the block. In reality, it’s a portable wireless speaker that can stream tunes from your cell phone, laptop, or any other Bluetooth device and can even do it sans power cord – just insert four AA batteries, and rock on.
The speaker has four buttons up top – power, volume, and Bluetooth control – and off to the side is a 3.5mm in-line for portable devices, and a power cord slot. Getting the speaker to sync with a Bluetooth device is pretty easy: press the Bluetooth button on top of the unit until the LED starts to flash blue, and then configure your compatible device (laptop, cellphone, etc.) to discover it. I had no problems here, and the Bluetooth wireless range was about 25 feet, smooth and clear all the way.
In the portability department, the NX-B02 is tough to beat. At only 3.3 inches wide and 6.7 inches high, I was able to duct tape it to my handlebars, bike around with the ice-cream truck song playing, and watch the kids come running from their houses. The sound quality at low volumes is pretty thin, but turn it up and the detail and depth in the midrange is impressive for a speaker this size. It can’t compete with most iPod speakers, but it’s a significant upgrade from your laptop’s speakers, with more detail, amplification and depth. For smaller rooms, or a day on the beach, it’s a worthy companion.